Bradley hints at detox centre and valley announcements in 2019

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley gives his state of the city address to Sarnia's Seaway Kiwanis Club. January 8, 2019 Photo by Melanie Irwin

Sarnia’s mayor says while renewal is underway, he hopes to “roll back the clock” on citizen service at city hall.

In his annual “state of the city” address to the Seaway Kiwanis Club, Mike Bradley told members Tuesday he hopes the new council will reconsider some of the changes made during the previous term.

“Putting back in the desk that served the public in the front [lobby] and my own personal view is, we were shut this year for 12 days at Christmas — I don’t believe that’s acceptable,” said Bradley. “I believe there should be a minimal staffing there to serve the public. Your problems don’t go away during those 12 days.”

Bradley also doesn’t like that staff have the ability to refuse people from speaking to council.

“I’ve sat through some presentations that my mind was many miles away. But, that’s part of my job, to listen to people and make a judgement. Not to not give them the right to talk to their fellow citizens that are elected.”

Bradley said he sees recent staffing changes as a good thing and adds that change is not unusual.

“In 2014, when the city manager that just left came in, we lost five or six key people. When other city managers came in, people left, could be retirement, could be philosophy, could be personalities — it’s part of life, it’s part of any workforce, it happens. So, you renew yourself and hopefully, you bring in people with different skills, different mindsets.”

He said he’s optimistic about the economy and expects more significant announcements from the valley.

“Not just fossil, but also on bio-fuels. Those two sites, the Trans-Alta site and the Arlanxeo site, have very competitive power rates, less than elsewhere in Ontario, we have water, skilled workforce, all those things. So we’ve been very fortunate to move forward and get direct investment in those two locations.”

Bradley¬†said he’s also looking forward to finalizing the Bayside Mall deal, which will see the construction of a new shared social services centre for the county, a retirement home and retail spaces.

But, he said his immediate priority for the city continues to be establishing a permanent 24-bed residential withdrawal management facility.

“That should have been up and running several years ago, and while the hospital says they’re close to a location and they’re about to announce the location — we still don’t know about the funding from the Ford government.”